Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Jon Stewart, Them's Fightin' Words!

I am so happy that "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee" is back in season.  It has become my Thursday afternoon tradition, I get my coffee, plug in my headphones, and take a little break from work at the end of the week.  I've waxed poetic about the show plenty by now so I won't go on about that, but, rather something said in the latest episode by guest Jon Stewart.  I should preface this by pointing out that early in the episode, Jerry observes that Stewart has never lived in LA.  So with that in mind, here are his perspectives on the two cities.

On New York City:

...all these different cultures and they come together and the alchemy of it creates something really vibrant and new.

On LA:

it's all singular and that lack of bass tones and the treble tones...it's just too narrow.  It strikes me as like being in Vegas.  Everybody's tuned to the same frequency...

As is to be expected, my first reaction is to defend my hometown (or closest major metropolis) from the disdain of the East Coast invaders.  At least Stewart has never lived here so I don't need to get to riled up as to engage with my "GO HOME THEN!" speech.

Of course, what he's saying about LA is factually incorrect.  According to the 2010 Census, LA actually has a slightly higher percentage of foreign-born residents than NY (39.7% vs. 36%).  Don't get me wrong, I am not going to cherry pick demographic statistics to try and prove that the sky is in fact NOT blue.  Wikipedia informs me that the term "melting pot" was coined to describe the Lower East Side alone.  New York's long history of being an entry point for immigration to the U.S. and facts like this stand in the way of that...

The New York City metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel.[20] It is also home to nearly a quarter of the nation's Indian Americans and 15% of all Korean Americans[21][22] and the largest Asian Indian population in the Western Hemisphere; the largest African American community of any city in the country; and has now become home to more than one million Asian Americans, greater than the combined totals of San Francisco and Los Angeles.[25] 

My point was only to say that LA is incredibly diverse, obviously more so than visitors may realize.  And that's where I cut Mr. Stewart a little bit of slack.  One criticism of LA that I still can't refute is its vastness, its sprawl, the isolating effect that has on its people.  No matter how much the Metro system has improved and expanded, driving around in our own little car pods is still and will always be the most popular way of getting around in this city.  For someone who comes into town as a visitor, they are going to have a far more limited and one-dimensional experience than a resident would.  It makes sense that they wouldn't get underneath LA's glossy surface of superficiality and detachment to see how people live outside Rodeo Drive and Sunset Blvd.  In my personal experience as a resident of Los Angeles, I feel I am constantly surrounded many different nationalities and cultures.  In my acting class, I, as an American, am usually the minority.  At my office, I work directly with an Irish citizen, a South African citizen, and an Australian citizen--and those are just the ones I can name off the top of my head.  At home, I live underneath a Brazilian-Finnish family, across from a Spaniard, next to Guatemalans* and our two buildings just had a huge, joyous paella party on my back patio.  The only thing "singular" about this City of Angels is our appreciation of great weather.  If your perception of LA is that it "lacks bass and treble tones," then perhaps you should take off your noise-canceling headphones and roll your windows down.  If "everybody's tuned to the same frequency," then why do we fight so much?  We're not exactly shiny, happy people holding hands over here.

Granted, what Stewart says about New York is valid.  Just based on my short time living there in college, I absolutely agree with his description and appreciation of New York's diversity and unique rhythms.  But LA does have that in spades itself, granted, less so than New York.  But a major, compelling reason for that is because, while in New York it smacks you in the face every time you step onto the sidewalk, in LA it requires the a little bit of effort and curiosity.  It doesn't help when East Coasters (even after they've lived here a little while) pass judgment without truly driving down the backstreets and stepping out of their cars.

Also, how dare anybody compare LA to Vegas**!  That's crossing the line, Stewart.


And still, it was a fantastic episode.

*I am not 100% sure they're Guatemalan.  I feel confident they're from some Central American country though and what's more fun than saying "Guatemalan?"

**Cue a Las Vegas blogger taking me to task for slighting their beloved home.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'm Too Late...

Awwwwwww yeeeeeeeeahh.......

I arrived at my cube this morning to find this brand new little beauty perched conspicuously on my wall.  Some would consider this an even greater priveledge than having an office.  In the words of Dr. Emmett Brown, "DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?"  It means, thanks to this, my own personal Honeywell, I can control the climate in my area!!  I alone can decide whether it will be hot or cold!  And what hot and cold means is defined by me!  On the hottest summer days when I want to wear a Hawaiian shirt and sip chilled beverages, I no longer have to contend with an office temp more comparable to the Antarctic!  The summer is mine!  Come fall and winter, when it's time for the sweaters, blazers, scarves (??), and cords, I can drop this maybe down to 60 degrees!  Who knows, maybe even lower!  I'm basically like Storm now.  With great power comes great responsibility.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Potpourri (I love it as a word and even more as a Jeopardy! category)

I think I have Instagrammed about this, but Instagram is such a peripheral medium to me and you don't get to say much outside of the photo.  Also, I do not presume that just because you are reading this that you like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or watch (?) me on Instagram.  And now for my point!

I love those little bite-size Dove dark chocolates.  I keep a bag in my desk drawer at work and enjoy one after lunch nearly every day.  As if the the chocolate weren't enough, you know they have those little messages inside the wrapper--each one signed, "Love, Dove."  My message today--for the second time, mind you--was this:

You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

To me, those are very comforting words.  I think that one was the first Love Dove message I ever got and I remember I saved that wrapper for a while because I liked it so much.  That one simple sentence speaks to so many levels of my worries and woes.  I'm not sure I believe the fortune anymore, but it's nice to hear.

As much as I try to have faith that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, I can't help but think sometimes how I should be someplace quite different.  In those times, I feel like somewhere along the way, I veered off course and didn't realize it until I was 500 miles down the road.  Unfortunately, the metaphor has no application for "reverse."  When I feel off course like this, my fantasy become to start all over again--new city, new job, new life.  It's easy to think you can just move pick up your shit and start fresh.  I don't think I'd actually do it, not with so many friends and family close by.  But it's still fun (see distracting from your real problems) to think where I would go if I did skip town.  I don't know what it means that the places I come up with are cities I've never spent more than 2 days in if I've even been there at all.  Easier to fantasize about some place whose warts you've never seen, I guess.  Seattle.  Portland (OR).  Austin.  Burlington, Vermont.

Can we please, as a people, stop asking each other "How are you" all the time?  Eight times out of ten it's said in passing, piggybacking on a standard "hello."

"Hi.  How are you?"
"Good.  You?"

 I must endure this pointless charade 25 times per day.  It's beginning to drive me nuts.  Obviously, if we're talking about two friends who are really asking their friend how they are and they're prepared and hoping to get a sincere, in depth answer, that's completely different and in no way irritating.  It's all the other "how are you"'s I'm talking about here.  Enough is enough.  I think I'll start answering this question with more honesty and forthrightness than the asker is expecting or looking for.

"Hi.  How are you?"
"My inner thigh is chaffing something fierce."

We'll see if they ask ME how I am again!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

How The Mice Will Play

I took Nicole to the airport this morning at 5 a.m.  Today is Day One of fourteen of my summer pseudo-bachelorhood.  Let me preface this by saying that I will miss her terribly and hate it when she is gone for so long.  Having said that,  I do find ways to occupy myself and, of course, I do enjoy my alone time for what it's worth.  I am also taking this month off from acting class so I've got even more hours to fill.

I submit to you my bacheloresque plan for the next two weeks a.k.a, The Summer of John, including hype man accompaniment:

--Visit my ol' buddy Cruiser in North Carolina (Holla at you boy!)
--Shirt-ironing party! (Yeeuh!)
--Cook (Wha What Wha What)
--Crack my ankles.  A lot.  She hates this. (Fight the power, kid!)
--Watch baseball! (Oh dang!)
--Read.  The newspaper, a novel I've been trying to get to, plays I might work on when I go back to class, you name it! (True!)
--Meditate.  I was doing this daily for a while and I had just begun to really feel some results.  It just got to be where I didn't have time and something had to give.  Might give it another go. (Woopty woop!)
--Do some writing?  I've been thinking about trying my hand at a play, if only a one-act. (Plays is bomb!)
--Solvang trip with Conrad (Gangstas need wine too!)
--Watch movies!  Movies she hates like "Zodiac" and "Before Sunset" or go to the movies...like on a Tuesday!  (You crazy.)
--Sleep right down the middle (Awwwwww yeeeeeeeeeeeah!)
--Drink (Ooooo weeee!)

That should just about do the trick.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

All I Have To Do Is Dream

I had a dream a few nights ago where I was talking with an old friend I haven't seen in almost ten years and haven't really known for closer to twenty.  I don't even know this friend anymore, but there she was.  The interesting that was how it was really her, not my estimation of her.  She wasn't saying things she used to say or things I wanted her to say.  Nothing could be more clear to me than the fact that this was not my subconscious putting words in her mouth, writing dialogue based on the person I knew twenty years ago.  No, this was really her, I swear it, funny, surprising, and aggravating.

It got me thinking about dreams and the subconscious.  I was talking to my boss at work the next day and she told me a story of her and some guy she had been acquainted with.  They really didn't like each other and fought whenever they crossed paths.  Then one night she had a dream that they were sitting on a staircase talking for hours.  The dream itself felt like it lasted all night.  The next time she saw this guy, shortly thereafter, suddenly the tension was gone and they got along great.  A little later, she told him about the dream and he swore he had the exact same dream.  Granted, my boss is a proud, card-carrying witch, so believe from that story what you will.  Regardless, I'll bet most people have a similar story of their own where a dream intersected with reality in a mysterious way, even if only slightly.

What if we can communicate with each other through dreams?  Is it possible we'll ever find a way to place those calls consciously or direct our subconscious minds to do it?  What if you can do it without the other person even picking up the proverbial phone?  I swear I've had dreams that were the equivalent of a telemarketer calling during dinner, some stranger I do not know and have no relation to suddenly showing up and bothering me.  Yet they have a specific face.  Where does that face come from?  There were some bad movies made about this, weren't there?

Anyway, obviously this is a very college-dorm, stoner topic, but hey it beats talking about the weather.  It's fun to think about though, even if it's a little crazy and there is little footing to be found.